Battling Dire Physical Adversities, These Swimmers Are Pushing the Envelope

These swimmers are truly battling the odds. Representative image only. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

Shridar Malagi and Simran Gaundalkar are shattering myths with their performances.

Swimming is a tough sport. It requires every muscle in the body to move quickly with perfect coordination. Additionally, swimmers require dedication, discipline and hard work—even more so if you have a physical disadvantage.

Twelve years ago, when Shridhar Malagi, who was then in Class 1, was returning from school in an auto, he met with an accident, and doctors had to amputate his left hand.

Shridhar Malagi with his coach (Inset Image). Inset Image Credit:- All About Belgaum.
Shridhar Malagi with his coach (Inset Image). Inset Image Credit:- All About Belgaum.

He eventually returned to school but was extremely dejected. “I was feeling down and out. We were poor and could not afford any special school. My father works as an assistant in a factory and mother a maid,” he told The Hindu.

The despondent young boy hanging around a swimming pool was spotted by Umesh Kalaghatagi, a swimming coach, who trains children at the JNMC swimming pool, and the Rotary Sports Centre. He asked Shridhar if he wanted to swim.

While Shridhar was initially hesitant, he brought his parents to meet the coach the following day. There has been no turning back and has not missed a single day of training since that fateful day. In his para swimming career of over five years, Shridhar has won 27 medals at national events.

Simran Gaundalkar, all of 14, also has a similar motivational story. She has Achondroplasia—dwarfism caused by a genetic disorder that stunts growth. If that wasn’t enough, neighbours and schoolmates teased the young girl about her condition.

Simran Gaundalkar with her coach (Inset Image). Inset Image Photo Credits:- All About Belgaum
Simran Gaundalkar with her coach (Inset Image). Inset Image Photo Credits:- All About Belgaum

Simran’s parents, however, were supportive. They sent her to Belagavi to study in a regular school. She informed The Hindu that coach Kalaghatagi spotted her and decided to train her. Simran has been training since she was in Class 2, and never thought she would come to love swimming.

Today, Simran has an impressive two dozen medal tally, from national and international events, the most recent being two medals at the recently held World Dwarf Games in Canada.

You may also like: They Said She Wouldn’t Walk. So She Became a Biker, Swimmer and Athlete Instead!

The two athletes have beaten severe odds, to bring laurels to the country. Befittingly, they were felicitated by R Ramachandran, the CEO of Zilla Panchayat, who also promised help to the swimmers and their coach, Mr Kalaghatagi with their sponsorship hunt, and try to provide them with other assistance, to help them follow their dreams.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us:, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
NEW: Click here to get positive news on WhatsApp!

Deep Dive

The Better Mentor

See All

We at The Better India want to showcase everything that is working in this country. By using the power of constructive journalism, we want to change India – one story at a time. If you read us, like us and want this positive movement to grow, then do consider supporting us via the following buttons.

Please read these FAQs before contributing.

Let us know how you felt

  • love
  • like
  • inspired
  • support
  • appreciate
Sign in to get free benefits
  • Get positive stories daily on email
  • Join our community of positive ambassadors
  • Become a part of the positive movement